Pluribus AM: The never-ending Texas special session

Good morning, it’s Thursday, November 9, 2023. In today’s edition, Minnesota case challenging Trump thrown out; Texas lawmakers back to immigration drawing board; Maryland wins new FBI headquarters … maybe:

Top News

TRUMP: The Minnesota Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to ban former President Donald Trump from the ballot in 2024 over the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. The court did not rule on the clause itself; justices ruled that state law allows political parties to put any candidate they want on primary ballots. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

IMMIGRATION: Texas lawmakers have begun a fourth special session in an attempt to pass legislation making illegal border crossings a state crime. Sen. Charles Perry (R) and Rep. David Spiller (R) introduced identical versions of a bill that would allow Texas law enforcement officers to arrest undocumented immigrants. The bill would require state judges to order someone to return to Mexico in lieu of prosecution. (Texas Tribune)

ABORTION: The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments over a law banning abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy. Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird (R) appealed a lower court decision striking down the law, arguing that abortion providers who sued to block it lack standing because they do not have a constitutional right to provide abortion services. (KCRG, Iowa Capital Dispatch)

ENERGY: The Illinois Senate voted to lift a 36-year old moratorium on new nuclear power plants in a bipartisan vote. Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) vetoed similar legislation earlier this year, but Sen. Sue Rezin (R), the bill’s sponsor, added language providing more oversight to assuage Pritzker’s concerns. The House has until today to pass the bill. (WGN)

MORE: The Michigan Senate gave final approval to legislation that will allow the state to override local governments when siting new wind and solar power projects. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expected to sign the bills. (Detroit Free Press)

EDUCATION: The Wisconsin Assembly voted to bar the University of Wisconsin system from considering race when deciding how to distribute financial aid to students. Gov. Tony Evers (D) is likely to veto the bill. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Legislators approved bills requiring the UW system to guarantee admission to students ranked in the top 10% of their high school classes, and to establish free speech and academic standards. (Wisconsin Examiner)

WORKFORCE: Georgia lawmakers will consider legislation to remove barriers for professional licenses to those who have been convicted of a crime. At least four other states have passed “fair chance licensing” legislation that reforms licensing procedures in fast-growing industries like health care, education and transportation. (Georgia Recorder)

TECHNOLOGY: Alabama Rep. Ben Robbins (R) will introduce legislation in next year’s session to force adult entertainment websites to require users to submit a valid photo identification before gaining access. The bill would require sexually explicit content companies to register with the state. (Yellowhammer News)

DISASTER RELIEF: Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) announced the creation of a $150 million fund to help those who lost a family member or were injured by Maui’s wildfires this summer. Beneficiaries will receive payments of more than $1 million if they waive rights to file legal claims. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

OREGON: Republican senators who boycotted the legislature for six weeks this year have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a voter-approved measure that bars members with too many unexcused absences from seeking re-election. Sens. Dennis Linthicum (R), Brian Boquist (R) and Cedric Hayden (R) say they were expressing their First Amendment rights and shouldn’t be disqualified from seeking re-election. (Associated Press)

OHIO: Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Brunner (D) has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn a new state law that requires partisan labels for Supreme Court and appellate court candidates. Brunner wants the federal court to overturn another part of the law that requires judges to resign before running for a nonjudicial office. (Columbus Dispatch)

Brunner has been mentioned as a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2026.

INDIANA: U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R) has launched his first television advertisement in his race to replace term-limited Gov. Eric Holcomb (R). Braun is the fourth candidate to go on air this year. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

WASHINGTON: Elections offices in King, Skagit, Spokane and Pierce counties were evacuated Wednesday after they received envelopes containing suspicious powders while workers were processing ballots. Two of the envelopes field-tested positive for fentanyl. Messages inside the envelopes referenced stopping the elections. (Seattle Times)

MISSOURI: House Speaker Dean Plocher (R) has lost his chief legal counsel in the midst of an ethics inquiry. The House Ethics Committee met for three hours on Wednesday to decide whether to take action after Plocher acknowledged he falsely billed taxpayers for travel to legislative conferences. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

MARYLAND/VIRGINIA: The General Services Administration has chosen a site in Greenbelt, Md., to host a new FBI headquarters, after years of skirmishes between Maryland and Virginia officials. Officials were also considering sites in Landover, Md., and Springfield, Va. But FBI officials have raised concerns about the site selection process in recent months. (Washington Post)

This fight will never end, will it?

By The Numbers

18: The number of Ohio counties that voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020 that also backed Issue 1, the constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion rights, in Tuesday’s election. (Columbus Dispatch)

148: The number of LGBTQ candidates who won election to state or local office on Tuesday, bringing the total number of out candidates who have won office in elections this year to more than 200, according to the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund. (Pluribus News)

1.9 billion: The number of people worldwide who endured dangerous heat waves over the last year, as Earth went through the hottest 12-month period on record. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

Among the more than 2,000 submissions to a state commission considering a new design for Minnesota’s state flag: A hot dish. Three grey ducks (which is apparently what Minnesotans call geese). And a photo of someone’s dog. Loons and north stars were the most popular symbols included on many of the designs. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The makers of Kraft Real Mayo have deposited a 6-foot jar of mayonnaise outside the headquarters of Merriam-Webster in Springfield, Mass. The company has launched a campaign to get the dictionary makers to name “moist” the word of the year. The Urban Dictionary defines “moist” as “a word people pretend to hate because the internet told them to.” (MassLive)

Quote of the Day

“Going into these elections, we knew that they were going to be tough. I mean, we absolutely knew that these were going to be tight, tight, tight races. And guess what? They were.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), reflecting on his party’s losses in Tuesday’s elections, when Democrats held their majority in the state Senate and retook control of the House of Delegates. (Pluribus News)